Wedding Wheels – In search of my BSA A7 Shooting Star

In 1960 my fiancé and I married on 23rd July at The Holy Trinity Church, Watergate Street, Chester. The wedding reception was held at Quaintways, Northgate Street Chester.
Following the reception we went to my family home, got changed and set off on our honeymoon on a BSA A7 Shooting Star to Minehead, Somerset.

BSA A7 Shooting Star in 1960

In September 2019 I had the inspiration to find the A7 [Reg YTC 843] in time for our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, 23rd July 2020. The idea was to have our photograph taken on the original BSA A7 Shooting Star to coincide with our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, that’s 60 years and we are still good friends.

Before doing anything, I had to find out whether our old bike still exists. Having checked the DVLA on-line, the bike is currently Insured, no Road Tax is required, being classed as a vintage bike. But it was now Maroon not Green which was its original colour, so far so good.

My next step was to contact the Vintage Motor Cycle Club to see if they could help in the search. They said that a few years ago, before Data Protection Act, they could have helped. They agreed to place an article in their monthly magazine to help the search, and suggested that I make contact with the Old Bike Mart. Again they were most helpful, implying that they would place an article in their monthly Magazine in aid of the search. I submitted an article, which they thought was a lovely story.

I then contacted the BSA Owners Club, even though I was not a member. They agreed to place my article on their Notice Board in the December edition of their monthly magazine. Again, ever so helpful and showed a great interest in the story.

My next venture was to make contact with ‘The Motorcycle News’, who produce a weekly magazine. They were impressed with the story and agreed to publish it in their magazine, appearing in the 2nd October 2019 edition. In addition, they awarded me with the Star Letter of the week. Not only that, but a prize of a “Michelin Tyre Pressure Management System” worth £79.95.

My wife said, “Now that you have a tyre testing system, you should think about getting yourself a bike.”

Seeking a BSA

I was always hopeful that with articles in three magazines, there was a chance of someone making contact. I did have quite a few text messages giving well-meant advice and encouragement. On the 12th May I received an unusual text message:
“Hi there. I saw your advert I currently own the bike. If you would like to I can bring the bike for £80 (deposit as it’s now a show bike) Thanks”. (Name withheld).

I was not able to make contact, who knows what may have happened?

Early 2020 I contacted three more monthly motorcycle magazine editors.

The Classic Motor Cycle, where the editor agreed to include an article Find my wedding day Beesa, in the March edition of the magazine.

Classic Bike where the editor also agreed to include an article Anniversary A7 in the April edition of the magazine.

Finally to the Classic Bike Guide, where again the editor welcomed the Wedding Day bike adventure and agreed to include an article Find This Wedding Day Twin in the April edition of the magazine.

24th April 2020, I wrote to the DVLA, explaining that I had placed articles in numerous Motorcycle Magazines to find a motorcycle that we used for our honeymoon in 1960. This year will be our Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Enclosed was a letter stamped but not addressed in the hope that the DVLA would address and post it. Inside the letter was a note to the current owner to see if we could arrange to have our photograph taken with the original bike, even though there could have been a complication with Covid-19.

30th April 2020 I received a text from Chrissy, giving me a link where the sale of YTC 843 was advertised.

I contacted the seller, who claimed the sale took place in January 2015, but did not keep any record of the sale.

BSA A7SS

Now things were not looking good, so I had to consider Plan B. This is where I would try to find someone with an A7 Shooting Star, to take it to the same place as the original photograph was taken, on 23rd July 2020, exactly 60 years after the original photo. My Son-in-Law suggested that I try the local ‘Cheshire and North Wales Vintage Motor Cycle Club’.

I contacted the secretary, Graham Gotts and explained my dilemma. His response was welcome and said he thought there was a member of the club who lived on the Wirral, not far from where I live, with an A7 Shooting Star.

The member with the Shooting Star was Keith Wilson, who saved the day.

On the Anniversary day, 23rd July 2020, having made previous contact with Keith. He turned up with his bike at 10:30, my wife and I sat on the bike, had our photograph taken, in almost the same place that we had our photograph taken 60 years ago. This really was a truly marvellous achievement, thanks to Graham and of course Keith.

BSA A7SS Reunited

24th July 2020 I received a negative response from the DVLA;
“I can understand your reasons for wanting the letter forwarded on but under the circumstances you described I am unable to carry out your request”.

And now they tell you!!

We would like to thank everyone who has helped us in trying to find our original ‘Honeymoon Bike’. Even though we did not find our bike, this result was a fantastic alternative.

Joan & John King. (August 2020)

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